Every kind of industry that’s in operation, from information technology to healthcare, has standards in place. Standards provide guidelines for doing business in tried, tested, and commonly accepted ways. They also ensure interoperability between both old and new products, and they pave the way for faster innovation to occur in each industry’s respective market.
That same value for standards also applies in the field of APIs. As the API industry evolved, it also began adopting certain standards for doing quality API-related work. And one of the most prominent among these is the OpenAPI Specification, or OAS for short.
OAS is a description format for RESTful APIs, also called RESTful web services. The specification allows those working on a REST API to describe it in its entirety, from its endpoints to its operation parameters and so on. Since the mid-2010s, upon adoption by the OpenAPI Initiative and archival into GitHub, OAS has been celebrated as the “golden standard” for describing APIs. When it comes to understanding the different types of API and emerging API technologies, OAS is one of the first things anyone should learn about.
This article will be useful to you if you are a budding API developer. It contains six key reasons for why you should consider using OpenAPI Specification, especially for REST API design. It’s a standard that you, like your fellow API professionals, can benefit from.
One distinguishing quality of the OpenAPI Specification is that it has no set preference for programming languages. The format can be used with various programming languages, and with minor instruction at the most.
This trait of OAS makes it particularly appealing to developers. If you use OAS, you won’t need to suddenly increase your proficiency with a programming language you’re not well-versed in. You can simply use the one you’re most comfortable with in perfect tandem with OAS.
It’s Both Human- And Machine-Readable
OAS is also both human- and machine-readable, meaning that it’s easy for both humans and machines to interpret the specification. Human developers, and the machines they’re using, will be able to understand what the service can do—even without access to its source code.
When you use OAS, you’ll understand why it’s commonly referred to as the “Rosetta Stone” of the API world. It’s because of how well it can unlock the workings of the API to both human users and machine components.
It Has The World’s Best Mindshare Behind It
OpenAPI is already the brainchild of Swagger, one of the biggest names in the API industry and a leader in open-source software. In addition to Swagger, API industry giants like SmartBear have pooled their support behind the specification. There’s a big community of OAS users, and it’s populated by elite players in the API field.
But it isn’t the prestige that sets the OAS community apart. It’s full of people who are passionate about APIs and actively want to see the technology grow. So when you join the OAS community, you’ll be receiving both the expertise and the generosity of your fellow developers.
It Increases The Chances of Developer Satisfaction
Developer experience, or DX, matters a lot in the overall process of API design. The API development team needs a good working environment, a proper toolset, and a blueprint for how to focus their work. All three will result in topnotch REST API design. OAS will ensure that these conditions are met.
Think of OAS as something that can unlock good DX, both for you and your developer colleagues. The developer-centric, design-first approach of OAS makes REST API both productive and fun. The more enjoyable your DX is, the better the eventual API product.
It Reduces Dependencies Among API Teams
OAS also acts as a service contract for the API’s functionality. The fact that such a contract is on the table for everyone to see makes their independent work easier for them.
This is good news for front-end developers, back-end developers, API architects, and the quality assurance team. It means all of you have a clear point of reference for what the API can do, and how this relates to your job function.
It’s a Ticket To A Faster API Release
The advantages of having fewer dependencies thanks to OAS is faster, more efficient, and more accurate REST API design work. In many cases, this also speeds up the API’s time to market.
As a developer, you know that time is gold. Every delay to the API’s launch is costly. But with OAS, you are likelier to achieve both a quicker and a more stable API implementation. That is when you will be thankful that you mastered OAS.
OpenAPI Specification has made waves in the field of REST API design, and from the looks of it, it is here to stay. Innovate your own API work, and enjoy great DX at the same time, by using OAS.